A Historic Meal At Journey's End

HENRY MORTON STANLEY had been journeying for months through Africa — battling malaria and smallpox, rampant desertion and a near mutiny, the loss of his companions, and theft of his company’s provisions and goods — when his caravan came within sight of Lake Tanganyika. He had reason to believe his long mission would reach its culmination on its shores, in the village of Ujiji (Tanzania). 

His caravan’s arrival — despite the many depredations of the road — was still an impressive sight in Ujiji. For one, it was flying the American Stars and Stripes. For another, it was loaded with bales of cloth, large cooking utensils, yards of canvas and all the other paraphernalia that made for a long land journey into the then remote reaches of Africa. As the locals clustered around Stanley’s train, there was a frail, older white man too, who painfully made his way over to the newcomers. He was missing several teeth and quite emaciated, but Stanley recognised him nonetheless. This was the man he had come to find, a Scottish national who was among the most well-known explorers of Africa at the time. It couldn’t be anyone other than “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” Stanley said, words that would take on a life and mythology of their own. 

Stanley recorded the date carefully in his journal; he had been sent on Dr Livingstone’s trail by the New York Herald’s owner, the flamboyant James Gordon Bennett Jr, and his accounts of the mission were being published as dispatches in the newspaper. According to Stanley’s notes, it was 10th November 1871. 

Within a few hours of their meeting, the two men — so different in every way and yet united by a spirit of adventure — were in deep conversation about their respective experiences. Livingstone — who had been presumed missing back home after his expedition to locate the source of the Nile in Central Africa stretched out far longer than anticipated — had been in desperate, dire straits. Stanley’s arrival was a godsend. 

As the day stretched on, the two men continued their historic meeting over a simple meal: stewed goat, curried chicken and rice. Goats were bred commonly across Africa as a source of meat; they made for hardy livestock in times of drought, could be easily carried and transported by a family on the move, and one animal was sufficient to feed a large group. Livingstone may have known the Swahili name for the goat meat preparation: Mchuzi wa Nyama, which is unique to this part of Africa. The curried chicken would have perhaps been referred to as “Kuku Paka” or “Kuku Nazi”, and prepared with plenty of spices and coconut. The men continued eating and drinking well into the night.

Stanley did not seem to have waxed eloquent about this meal in his notes, but the bare facts of it are recorded nonetheless. What isn’t, is his famous catchphrase. The specific pages from his notebook are torn out, prompting many to question if he ever actually said “Dr Livingstone I presume?” or if it was a made-up yarn. 

Stanley also got something else wrong: the date. It was not November 10 but October 27, two years to the day Stanley had set off to find Livingstone.

Nigerian Egg Rolls

Via Chef Lola's Kitchen

Makes 5 servings.

Prep time: 25 mins. 

Cook time: 10 mins.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 8-9 tbsp water
  • 5 eggs, boiled


  • Mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the margarine and use your fingers to blend it into the flour until crumbly. Stir in the beaten egg. The dough should look dry at this point.
  • Begin to introduce the water a little at a time and work the dough till it is soft and sticky. Work the dough for about a minute, then cover it and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Work the dough again for a couple of seconds to a minute, and divide it into five balls. Flatten out each ball of dough on the palm of your hand, drop the egg in the middle and tightly wrap the dough around it. Fry in a wok on medium heat until golden brown.